Headteacher of school that compared being gay to incest to ‘stand aside’

Citipointe Christian College principal pastor Brian Mulheran

The headteacher Citipointe Christian College, which introduced then scrapped a contract comparing being gay to paedophilia, has announced he will “stand aside”.

Brian Mulheran is “principal pastor” of the school in Brisbane, Australia, and he announced last month that Citipointe Christian College would be introducing a new “enrolment contract”.

The school said it would require students and parents to sign the contract, which stated: “We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including but not limiting to adultery, fornication, homosexual acts, bisexual acts, bestiality, incest, paedophilia and pornography) is sinful and offensive to God and is destructive to human relationships and society.”

It added that students would be enrolled “on the basis of the individual’s biological sex”, and that this would also dictate their uniforms, use of facilities and participation in sports.

Teacher and parent Helen Clapham Burns resigned and went public with the story, and a former student started a petition to have the policy pulled.

Despite initially defending the new contract, insisting the school had “always held these Christian beliefs” and was simply trying to “be fair and transparent to everyone in our community by making them clear in the enrolment contract”, Mulheran backtracked and scrapped it. 

On Friday evening (4 February), Mulheran announced that he would “stand aside and take extended leave in order to reflect on what has transpired and provide the college community time to heal”.

The Citipointe Christian College principal gave a non-apology to queer students – “I am sorry that some students felt that they may be being discriminated against at Citipointe” – and added: “Citipointe needs to be ready to welcome students on Monday with a positive outlook to start the new school year.”

In an unexpected twist, following the Citipointe Christian College controversy, right-wing Australian prime minister Scott Morrison vowed to stop students from being expelled for their sexuality or gender identity. 

Despite introducing Australia’s Religious Discrimination Bill, which would allow faith-based organisations like churches, schools and workplaces to bypass anti-discrimination laws, Morrison told Brisbane’s B105.3 radio station on Thursday (3 February) that he would push for an amendment to protect queer students.

He said: “We will have an amendment that will deal with that to ensure kids cannot be discriminated on that basis.

“I’ve been saying that for years. That’s always been my view.”